Thorns FC Notebook: Australia and Stephanie Catley into AFC Women's Asian Cup Final
Portland Thorns FC defender Stephanie Catley and the Australian Women’s National Team booked a spot in their second consecutive AFC Women’s Asian Cup Final with a 2-1 win over Korea Republic May 22. The Matildas will now face Japan in the championship match in Ho Chi Minh on May 25.
The match will be the second meeting between the sides in the competition and features the reigning FIFA Women's World Cup champions, Japan, and the defending Women’s Asian Cup champions, Australia. When the teams met in the first game of the group stage, the match ended in a 2-2 draw. Japan reached the tournament final after defeating China in the other semifinal 2-1 in extra time.
Before thinking about Japan, Australia had to get past Korea Republic in the semifinals. After a scoreless first half, the Matildas were quick off the mark, taking the lead in the 47th minute. Forward Caitlin Foord played a pass back to an onrushing Katrina Gorry who took one touch past a sliding defender and lashed a shot into the net from 24 yards. Gorry has scored in each of Australia’s last three matches in the tournament.
Korea Republic would equalize in the from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute, despite goalkeeper Lydia Williams diving to the correct side. Australia responded quickly and scored the winner in the 77th minute after a free kick from Elise Kellond-Knight bounced into the net untouched. Catley played the full 90 minutes, helping see out result and progress to her first Women’s Asian Cup Final.
Thanks to the significant time difference between Portland and Vietnam, Catley was able to check on her NWSL teammates and follow the Thorns match against Western New York via Twitter, even retweeting some exciting moments.
Follow @TheMatildas on Twitter for play-by-play live tweets of the match.